On Thursday, November 21, 2019, 24 tenth graders from Kent County High School who participate in the Next Generation Scholars program toured area businesses for career inspiration. The sophomores visited Dixon Valve, Luisa’s Cucina Italiana, Chestertown Physical Therapy and Greenscapes Land Care. This is the second year the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) coordinated a day-long field trip for sophomores to enhance education and career awareness as well as promote college completion for high school students.
“Seeing so many students come out to learn about a career field they may never have considered was inspiring, as was their commitment to learning while visiting,” said Casey Hurd, managing member, Greenscapes Land Care, LLC. “It is exciting to present just one of many local employment opportunities they may have, either right out of high school or after college, in their home county. The visiting students were interested in learning about local opportunities available to them, and we were impressed by their engagement and interest.”
“Our employees love the opportunity to work with our local students,” said Dan Lessard, vice president of human resources at Dixon Group Services, LLC. “It is very gratifying for our team to be able to explain what they do on a day-to-day basis and show the students that you don’t need to have all the answers in high school. Dixon hires for attitude and trains for aptitude, and our staff are shining examples of this philosophy.”
MBRT designed the career tours to connect students with community businesses and provide opportunities to learn about career choices they may not have previously considered. These connections can also help pave the way for future job shadowing and summer internship opportunities. Throughout the day, students toured facilities, learned about education requirements and what occurs during a typical workday. They also spoke directly with professionals about their industry and their career path.
At Dixon Valve, a leading supplier in the hose coupling industry, students toured the manufacturing floor, observed robots and machines making parts and also met with various departments such as information technology, human resources and marketing. During the visit to Luisa’s Cucina Italiana, students spoke with the owners about entrepreneurship and also met with kitchen staff and the dining room manager. At Chestertown Physical Therapy, they met with doctors to learn about physical and occupational therapy and careers that exist within that industry. While visiting Greenscapes Land Care, students toured the facility and learned about landscape design and implementation.
“We were excited to again offer this popular learning experience for our Next Generation Scholars because it is such a valuable opportunity for our students to explore real careers in the community and talk to professionals working in a specific field,” says Brian Dulay, executive director of Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. “Our goal is that students will begin to formulate future plans and strategies about how to get where they want to go and be successful in college, career and life.”
For more than 25 years, MBRT has been connecting the business community with local schools through its Maryland Scholars Speakers Bureau and STEM Specialists in the Classroom programs. In 2017, MBRT added the Next Generation Scholars program, which provides funding through the Howard P. Rawlings Maryland Guaranteed Access Grant, administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), to enhance education and career awareness as well as college completion for high school students with a demonstrated financial need. The Guaranteed Access Grant provides an award that will help cover the cost of full-time study at a Maryland college or university for low-income families.
MBRT currently serves nearly 2,000 students in six high schools across five counties. The organization is one of several that partner with leadership and school counselors at select schools throughout the state to provide grade-specific services to ensure that students who are part of Next Generation Scholars graduate ready for their next steps in college, career and life. MBRT coordinators help students and parents understand that college is an option for everyone while bridging the knowledge gap that exists for many families about college and their chosen career paths.
Learn more about MBRT’s Next Generation Scholars program at www.mbrt.org/nextgen.
About Maryland Business Roundtable for Education
Founded in 1992, the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education (MBRT) is a nonprofit coalition of leading employers that have made a long-term commitment to support education reform and improve student achievement in Maryland. MBRT is the catalyst for business, government and education to drive high student achievement that ensures a competitive future workforce for a world-class economy. For more information, please visit http://www.mbrt.org/.
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